In this episode, we're discussing the neuroscience and treatment of focal dystonia. My expert guest is Dr. Nancy Byl. Dr. Byl has been a practicing physical therapist for many years. She assumed leadership as Department Chair and participated in academic development, teaching, and administration at the University of California, San Francisco's Graduate Program in Physical Therapy. As a clinician and researcher, she's an expert in the cause and treatment of focal dystonia. Working with collaborators in neuroscience, she designed an animal model to study the etiology of focal hand dystonia. She created a paradigm shift in the understanding of focal dystonia as a case of neural maladaptation of sensory and motor processing.
Using imaging techniques, her team demonstrated that learning-based sensory-motor training for patients with focal dystonia, not only improved sensory discrimination and accuracy but modify the topography of the sensory cortex, improve neuronal firing patterns and improve motor control. In this episode, you'll learn all about the cause and the treatment of focal dystonia as well as Dr. Byl's evolution as a physical therapist, both in research, academia and clinical practice. Let's get started and let's meet Dr. Nancy Byl and discuss focal dystonia.